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Morning Song – Stretch Out

There’s the old preachers’ story about the man who trusted completely in God to save him from any trouble that might come his way.  When the floodwaters started to rise, he turned away two rescue boats and a helicopter as neighbors and aid workers offered to save him.  The waters kept rising; he drowned and went to his heavenly reward.

Once there, he asked God, “Lord, I trusted in you and you alone.  Why didn’t you save me from the waters?

God replied, “My son, I sent you two boats and a helicopter.  What more did you want me to do?

That’s the kind of theology that undergirds the Institutional Radio Choir’s classic 1967 gospel hit, “Stretch Out”.  Salvation may be by grace alone, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at it.

When troubles come and storms begin to rise,
Hold on and learn to stretch out;
Oh keep on fasting, keep on believing,
Hold on and learn to stretch out.

Morning Song – Blues In H

It’s an accident of musical notation that what is in the English-speaking world the key of B natural is in the German-speaking world the key of H.

The seemingly effortless groove created by the Modern Jazz Quartet in their last concert when playing Milt Jackson’s “Blues in H”?  That’s no accident.

Morning Song – Electric Lady

Janelle Monae’s sorority reunions have better dance parties than yours…but you can join along if you want.

Whether in Savannah, Kansas or in Atlanta,
She’ll walk in any room have you raising up your antennas;
She can fly you straight to the moon or to the ghettos,
Wearing tennis shoes or in flats or in stilettos;
Illuminating all that she touches, Eye on the sparrow,
A modern day Joan of Arc or Mia Farrow…Electric Lady

It’s Friday.  Find some time to celebrate this weekend.

The Best 2014 Election Analysis Was Written Two Years Ago

ElectionAnalysis“(T)he biggest single under-discussed aspect of contemporary national politics is the consistent disparity in turnout patterns between presidential and non-presidential elections, which at the moment happen to align almost perfectly with party preferences.”

If anyone’s taking nominations in the category of “Best 2014 Election Analysis”, I nominate Ed Kilgore’s Nov. 9 post, “Turnout Disparities and the Democratic Dilemma for 2014″, on the Washington Monthly’s invaluable Political Animal blog.

What’s so good about Kilgore’s piece?  Well, for one, it’s from Nov. 9, 2012.  That means it was written during the euphoric afterglow (for partisan Democrats) of President Obama’s convincing re-election.  Second—and this may be the most important reason—it remains resolutely focused on the fundamental interplay of how US voters actually behave and how the US electoral system is structured: Read more…

“We Are The Menino Generation”

credit: Bill Greene, Boston Globe, 1997

credit: Bill Greene, Boston Globe, 1997

While the editors here at MassCommons World Headquarters have been having fierce debates and—frankly—dithering over what to say about the recent death of Tom Menino, longtime mayor of what one local reporter used to call “the provincial capital” in this little corner of the world, more intrepid (and incisive) writers have plunged forward and beautifully captured the essence of what Menino’s public career meant for younger Bostonians:

We are the Menino generation. We were born in his first years in office or just before his election. We grew up in his city, and cast our first ballots to elect his successor. Until January, we had never known another mayor.

He helped us search for Easter eggs in neighborhood parks each spring, marched with us in parades, handed us candy on Halloween. He shook our hands when he presented us with awards for academic excellence and school spirit. He spoke at our graduations. He got us our first jobs. He shaped the city we love for most of our lives, and in doing so he shaped us.

He taught us the importance of concern for others, of hard work, of pride in our city, and of a kind of politics that cares about people. We who have never known life without him will forever be indebted to him.

Read the whole thing here.

Morning Song – Bustin’ Loose

From a regular reader in the DC area:

Subject Line:  First Rule of Cover Songs*

I believe Rebirth Brass Band has fulfilled it, and then some, with their cover of Chuck Brown’s “(I Feel Like) Bustin’ Loose”.

Why, yes.  Yes, I believe they have.

*You’ve got to bring something new to it.

h/t: CAH

Morning Song – Get Ready

I wouldn’t claim that Smokey Robinson could write a hit song from anything*.  But he did write “Get Ready” based on little more than the Giant’s “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum” from Jack & The Beanstalk.  Just saying….

(You could argue that “Get Ready” owes its success to Eddie Kendricks’ silken lead vocals, the Temptations’ smooth harmonies, and the peerless studio work of the Funk Brothers…but Rare Earth had a hit with it too.)



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